by Laurence P. Birch, Chairman and CEO, DATATRAKThere is no doubt that social media has created a more connected world. From sharing photos, videos, and even what you had for lunch, remote friends can share the ‘highlights’ of their friends’ day. Although that sharing is nice, a higher need is now being filled.Patients with chronic illnesses are turning to social media to share their experiences. What treatments work? What are the side effects and how intense are they? Patients share their experiences openly with their community of like-affected online friends, in an effort to live a longer, healthier life. These patient networks are transforming how patients address their health, all around the globe.And Pharma and research entities are starting to connect with them, completing the circle.PatientsLikeMe, an online patient network, recentlypartneredwith AstraZeneca to provide invaluable insight into research. In the agreement, AstraZeneca will use patient-reported data to shape their future research. Gaining that valuable insight will certainly provide meaningful information to researchers and likely accelerate their ability to deliver meaningful treatment.Patient-centric treatment and research has been long discussed. But this partnership, among others of its kind, is actually doing it.